Have you ever been in a situation on a group tour where you find yourself sitting next to a stranger on the motorcoach, seated next to someone you've not yet met at a restaurant, or in that middle seat on the plane with unknown travelers on both sides of you?  Studies show it's healthier, and far nicer, to have a conversation, no matter how brief, with those next to you while traveling rather than immediately putting in those earphones. 

But starting a conversation with people you don't know or don't know very well can feel awkward and intimidating. Below are a few easy tips to help you get the conversation started:

  • Introduce Yourself
  • Ask Questions

Don’t ask about politics or religion, obviously. Make the topic of conversation the person you’re talking to. That’s important. You could ask:

  • Where are you from? Is this where you have always lived?
  • How long have you been traveling?
  • What are some amazing places you've traveled to?
  • What hobby or job do you have?

Open-ended questions work beautifully. Even better, ask questions that lead to a point of positivity.  

  • 'Wow! I really like your ____' Then ask about it.

Ask the right questions and you’ll get loads of information you can use to continue the rest of the conversation. If you start a conversation with a question, it’s much more likely you’ll get a response.

But know when the other person wants to be left alone or is bored. If they answer your question with short, curt answers and don't ask you questions in return, then it might be time to pull out those earphones after all.